Traffic snag on Brackenridge side of ATI’s steel mill wreaks havoc for its Stieren neighbors |
Valley News Dispatch

Traffic snag on Brackenridge side of ATI’s steel mill wreaks havoc for its Stieren neighbors

Brian C. Rittmeyer
Brian C. Rittmeyer | Tribune-Review
Traffic that travels past Brackenridge Avenue on Mile Lock Lane in Brackenridge is forced to turn right onto Stieren Avenue, a narrow one-way street. Mile Lock Lane was made one-way from First Avenue to Stieren to accommodate the new Allegheny Technologies Inc. plant. Photographed on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019.
Brian C. Rittmeyer | Tribune-Review
Stieren Avenue is a one-way street in Brackenridge that is effectively one lane because of vehicles parked along one side. Photographed on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019.
Brian C. Rittmeyer | Tribune-Review
Looking down Stieren Avenue in Brackenridge toward the ATI mill on Wednesday. Brackenridge officials are looking into how to address resident complaints about traffic on the narrow one-way road.

Stieren Avenue in Brackenridge is just too dangerous for Katy Thies to let her children play in front of her home.

Because nearby Mile Lock Lane is one-way in the opposite direction between Stieren and First Avenue, more traffic comes down the narrow one-way street.

“We used to let them play on the sidewalk. Now we have to be a lot more careful,” said Thies, a mother of five. “There’s so many cars that fly through here.”

Making matters worse is that her house is on Stieren at Maple Lane, the first opportunity for vehicles to turn and get to First Avenue. There’s a stop sign there, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

“Cars fly through the stop sign,” she said. “We just usually stay out back now.

Councilman Dan Lopreiato says he has been getting complaints from residents on Stieren.

“The trouble is all the traffic being routed from Mile Lock Lane is going straight down Stieren and is causing damage to property and to vehicles,” Lopreiato said at a recent council meeting.

Council is having borough Police Chief Justin McIntire look into the problem to see what can be done.

There’s been more traffic on Stieren since a small part of Mile Lock, between First Avenue and Stieren, was made one-way to accommodate the $1.2 billion Allegheny Technologies’ rolling mill .

Any traffic that comes down Mile Lock toward First Avenue past Brackenridge Avenue has no choice but to turn right onto Stieren, which is one-way heading toward Tarentum. With cars parked along its right side, it’s basically a one-lane road.

While he doesn’t have much problem with traffic on the road, resident Joe Wingard said he’s seen tractor-trailers get stuck at Mile Lock and Stieren, and need police help to get backed up and out by going the wrong way through the one-way part of Mile Lock to First Avenue.

The “Wrong way” and “Do not enter” signs don’t stop all the traffic. At night, some will go through anyway, a resident who did not want his name published said.

The trucks that do try to turn onto Stieren don’t usually get too far before realizing they’re in a bad spot, Wingard said.

“There’s nowhere for them to go,” Wingard said. “They usually stop right away.”

Although drivers can turn onto wider Brackenridge Avenue or Sixth Avenue to head toward Tarentum or reach First Avenue, many apparently choose not to do that or are not aware that they can’t drive the whole way down Mile Lock to First Avenue.

Council President Tim Connelly said trucks should not be coming down Mile Lock because it has a weight limit, but GPS devices send them that way anyway.

Lopreiato says the problem is not just truck traffic but the amount of traffic.

“My whole thing with the Stieren issue is that it was never designed for that kind of traffic,” he said.

Resident Tammy Squires would like to see the one-way portion of Mile Lock restored to two-way traffic, and for trucks to not be allowed on Stieren.

“All these houses have kids,” she said. “It’s not wide enough for trucks to come down this one-way street.”

Connelly said the only way to make Mile Lock two-way again is if Fueland, the gas station at the corner of Mile Lock and First Avenue, gives up part of its property.

ATI owns some of the land along Mile Lock Lane, but on the opposite side of Mile Lock Lane. A company spokeswoman said, “we do not own the key parcel at the corner of First and Mile Lock that would be necessary to convert the road to two-way.”

The spokeswoman said the company “worked with the county to ensure a design focused on the safety of all motorists.”

A representatives of Fueland could not be reached for comment.

Lopreiato said he will speak with the Fueland owner.

Brackenridge Council is also considering establishing a truck route through the borough that would use Springhill Road in Harrison and the Tarentum Bridge ramp to First Avenue as the entry and exit points and First Avenue as the main traffic artery.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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